Corbyn: We need to campaign together to change damaging policies
With voices arguing for 'austerity 2.0' getting louder, the lessons of the Covid crisis have not been learned by the goverment, writes MP Jeremy Corbyn
Monday, 13th September 2021 — By Jeremy Corbyn
Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn
Many thanks to the Islington Tribune for inviting me to write this column and I hope all readers and their loved ones are keeping safe. After the challenging last 18 months, COVID-19 is very much still with us, and my thoughts are with all those who have suffered illness or lost loved ones during the pandemic.
As I have written in this paper before, the crisis has shone a light of many inequalities and injustices that must change in the months and years ahead. Furthermore, it has shown how the Tories continue to fail to provide the investment and support people and communities, such as ours here in Islington, need.
To give just two examples, how can it be right that we clap key workers throughout the pandemic, but then the Government now offers them feeble pay rises?
And in terms of an issue in the news, if we need – and can afford – an uplift to Universal Credit of £20 a week (including as of the latest figures 11,910 households in Islington North) to help people during the pandemic, how can it possibly be acceptable to plunge millions of people into poverty and misery by taking it away this autumn?
The lessons of this crisis are huge, but they have not been learned by this Government, with voices arguing for “austerity 2.0” seemingly getting louder, as shown not only by the upcoming cut to Universal Credit, but also that the Tories will end – rather than adapt – the furlough scheme at the end of September.
The latest figures for Islington North available show 3,700 people on furlough and with unemployment benefits claimants here already at 6.980 (with a high rate amongst those these aged 16-24,) I am deeply concerned about people falling off a cliff-edge into unemployment this autumn, including many young people who have so much to offer.
Many others will be worried about how these measures will make it harder to pay the rent or keep a roof over their heads.
The ‘double-whammy’ effect of the Universal Credit cut and ending furlough could lead to misery for millions this winter. It must be stopped.
I will continue to campaign against the Tories’ putting private profit before people and planet, including through supporting a Green New Deal to create jobs and help tackle climate change.
Policies to tackle the climate emergency are also vital to addressing people in our community’s environmental concerns, and in particular the urgent need for action for clean air.
It is also important to continue to celebrate how at times, the Coronavirus crisis has shown the best of our society. As the MP for Islington North, I am immensely proud of our community, the response of our health services and council, and the way we have – and continue to – collectively reach out to support people across our communities.
The wonderful response of volunteers at food banks, mutual aid groups and elsewhere shows just how much we can achieve when we work together.
That is the lesson we need to learn going forward, and we need to campaign together to make the Government change direction on damaging policies such as the Universal Credit cut.
We can also see in difficult times like this the importance of the continuing publication of independent media outlets such as the Islington Tribune so we can stay informed and connected. I will continue to speak up for media reform and diversity, and support for local and community media.
As your local MP, I will continue to campaign on these vital issues and the principles that have inspired me throughout the decades I have been honoured to be your representative in parliament. Let’s continue to work together for a better future.
• Jeremy Corbyn is the MP for Islington North